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2018, I see you! #GOALS

Tackling goals with flannel in tow.

This is IT – it’s the last day of 2017, and wow, what a year it has been! I wish I had some sort of epiphany to write here, some sort of something to be able to explain to you why I’ve been a little less open about my life since October, and why I’m still not quite sure what “The Plan” is for this blog.

Right now, my plan is to write when I feel I have something to say, and for the first time in the 10 years of having this blog, that means I’ve got no schedule, no content calendar. It’s time to roll with it. But what I DO have a plan for is 2018. My list of goals for 2017 was quite hefty, and it served me well, so I’ve got an entirely new batch of goals for this year. Here goes:

Raise the Standard. I have always strived to live my best life in the things I do and the goals I set, but I have done a really bad job of evaluating those I choose to put into my life. That ended in 2017. I don’t care if my life has less people in it – I want quality over quantity. I’ve been blown away by the amount of cool people I’ve met since I moved to Austin, but I’ve quickly learned that “cool” or “nice” doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be a part of my life. Only I know what (and who) is best for me, and I’ll do everything I can to protect the life I’ve created for myself.

Get more Involved in the Local ZTA Chapter. A sorority sister in Austin was kind enough to invite me to observe a day of recruitment at the end of the summer, and it was really neat to see! It was refreshing to see so many young women coming together for a cause they feel passionate about and I was inspired by their drive and positivity. I’m not sure what ways I can help this year, but I’m willing to try!

Don’t Wait for Tomorrow. In 2017, my motto was “Just do it”, and it really served me well – it got me to schedule all of my medical appointments, take my first blood test (ugh, I know), book flight tickets, and ride a questionable roller coaster. I don’t regret a BIT of it! In 2018, I’m reminding myself to be present, that I only have today, and tomorrow isn’t promised. Don’t wait. Just get it done.

Attend an Estate Sale. I have always enjoyed digging through clearance bins for a great deal, hitting up thrift stores for unique finds, and I love spending hours in Goodwill just browsing through the racks. I’ve never been to an estate sale and I just want to see what it’s all about – and let’s face it, see if there are any good jewels or fantastic art.

Write, just to Write. For a few years, I have had a small fear in the back of my mind: if I’m writing for this blog five times a week, when will I have time to write, just for the sake of writing? And in 2018, I’m taking advantage of my need to be a little less public. I suffered a major blow in 2017 when I realized just how much information I was putting out into the world, and it was providing a peephole into my life for people that don’t deserve to see it. Because of this, I’ve started a journal (an actual paper journal) where I can write exactly what’s on my mind and it’s likely that no one will ever see it. I’m writing just to work on my craft, and that’s for my eyes only.

Treat Yoself. I’ve worked really hard the last two years to pay off debts and put aside money to save and money to travel. And I’m finally at the point where I can treat myself some. Part of this means more travel and life experiences, but part of this is much smaller than that. For years, I’ve had issues with buying nice things and then if I do buy them, I never use them! It could be a nice perfume that I never use because I can’t stop thinking about the cost – it’s silly. I’ve finally started “using up” my nice beauty products on my shelves, or actually wearing the nice shoes in my closet. YOLO!

Take a Road Trip to Marfa, Texas. I’ve been wanting to head to Marfa for a few years now – it’s a small town in West Texas known for its art installations. It’s about a 6-hour road trip, and I’m already dreaming of the tumbleweeds and adorable bed and breakfasts. Let’s hit the road!

Pay off two more Credit Cards. I paid off my first (and with the highest interest) credit card in 2017 and I’m on a roll – I’ll be able to pay off another one before March. I’m not going to lie, I have checked my $0 balance at least five times in a celebration of victory. I’m slowly making my way to living debt-free!

Less Time on Social Media + Less Social Comparison. Social comparison has always been a thing. But damn you, social media, now we’re able to see everything about people we knew, know, and DON’T know at all! Parts of it are cool, but honestly, it’s detrimental, and no offense, but I need to be doing other shit with my life. Social media is literally my 9-5 job, so I’m aware I can’t just quit the stuff. But I can stop mindlessly scrolling and wondering about a random person’s vacation or wardrobe. It’s ridiculous. So I’m putting a time limit on my social media use. I’m not quitting it, but I’m also not going to be sucked into it this year. No, no!

Meditate + Show Up for Yourself. I started going to yoga regularly toward the latter half of 2017 and I’ve slowly been able to work on my breathing, focus, and balance. This year, I want to take it a step further and begin practicing meditation. I want to be a little more present for myself instead of just going through the motions. I’m currently on the hunt for a good app to guide me through meditation – if you have recommendations, please share!

Don’t try to Please Everyone – It’s Going to be Okay. I know I pissed some people off in 2017, and well, that’s never going to change. I cannot please everyone, and frankly, that’s not what I was put on this earth to do. Next? But really, I put a lot of pressure on myself to smooth things over as fast as possible, when sometimes, it just can’t be done. And that’s going to have to be okay.

…And I’ll be livin’ this dream with you. 

-Khalid, American Teen

…So, what goals are you setting for yourself in 2018? I’d love to hear them! Happy New Year everyone!


On keeping it real (honest).

A good soak in the tub.

It’s 9:30 pm, and I’m writing this on my phone as I soak in the tub. I just had a mini-meltdown in my car and am grasping for all of my self care necessities at once: Blanche, bubble bath, John Mayer, and a clay mask. 

Since Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, I’ve been stressed. I’ve been doing several things to help those in need (and am looking forward to doing more), but it takes a toll. 

I feel really lucky that Austin wasn’t affected as much as predicted and I still have my house, my kitty, my car…but events like these either bring out the best in people, or the worst. 

I couldn’t help but notice just how many people did not contact me to see how I weathered the storm. In fact, the 3 people who did contact me, are people I haven’t seen in at least a year. 

Maybe it’s not a big deal to most, but no matter what’s going on between me and you when shit hits the fan, I’m going to reach out and see how you’re doing. That’s what we do. Right? 

I know many people probably just don’t feel a need to check in because it’s much easier to just look online and see the last time they posted on social media. 

But what if that wasn’t an option?

In the last week, I read a book (“What Made Maddy Run?”) and saw a movie (“Ingrid Goes West”) that both talked about the cultural change we’ve experienced because of social media and the effect it has on our mental health. No spoilers, but the result is not a good one. 

I know I’m guilty of scrolling through Instagram and being jealous of someone’s outfit, their vacation, or really just…their entire life. Of course, I’m only seeing the highlight reel. And that’s where things get dicey. 

I always think I’m putting the real me out there, but you’ve never seen a picture of my face after I’ve been crying. 

If you wanted to, you could read a lot of my issues right here on this blog. And there’s plenty of dirt on my Twitter feed. But I’m going to put some realness out there, right now. 

In the last year, I’ve spoken to only four members of my family. Including my mom. In the last two years, I’ve had other family members tell me I need Jesus, threaten to sue me, and tell me I’m a piece of trash. 

I spent last Thanksgiving and Christmas with my cat. And it was awful. 

There are days when I feel lonely, times I feel there’s no one I could call, times I feel like a burden to this world. 

I work in politics. Liberal politics. And things are dark right now. Obviously. 

I suffer from financial stress. The money I make at my day job barely covers my bills, and I’m constantly doing extra work to keep up, to save for fun things, or to just pay off a credit card or taxes. I worry about bills, and trying to save. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever feel financially free. 

I’ve done some shit I shouldn’t have. Mathematically, I feel like I shouldn’t still actually be alive but I’m here and I get very stressed about making my time here count. 

I know I’m critical of myself. And of others, too. At times I wonder if I’m right in the way I feel, and I recall years of therapy where I learned it’s ok to feel anything you feel. 

I’ve spent many years searching for what I think is happiness, and I’ve found that generally it’s my weekly trip to the library, cooking, or driving by these two palm trees at the bend on my street. 

So there. Now you see it, my dirty laundry. I know we have a long way to go before posts like these are accepted just as any other. It’s less of a pity party and more of a display so you know that if you’ve ever felt any of these things, you’re not alone. 

I’d like to think that’s a small reason I’ve created this blog for myself – it’s my place to go when the seas get rough, when I feel like there’s no one to call. 

There’s another (literal) storm out there. If you know someone that’s going to be affected by it, at all, shoot them a message. We need each other – the real each other, not the Instagram stuff. 

I’m not apologizing for my crazy today. It’s real, just like any of my blog posts – this one’s just a little less pretty. 

She’s perfect, so flawless, oh so they say…she thinks I can’t see the smile that she’s faking, posing for pictures that are being taken. I loved you, gray sweatpants, no makeup, so perfect. 

Sent from my iPhone

Watching: ‘Ingrid Goes West’.

…Ingrid goes dark…

Over the long weekend, I did exactly what you’re supposed to do: ate watermelon and burgers (okay, vegan black bean burgers), shopped ’till I dropped, and went to the movies! I finally saw what lots of people have been talking about “Ingrid Goes West”.

“Ingrid Goes West” is the story of Ingrid Thorborn (Aubrey Plaza), who has spent a decent chunk of her life being obsessed with social media.

We’re not talking, oh she likes Instagram or she’s constantly buried in her phone – this is a full blown obsession that leads her to change her entire life, and sometimes, even ruining moments of the lives for whom she’s obsessing over.

Despite her past (in a mental institution), Ingrid discovers a new quest: Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen). Taylor is the girl we’ve all seen on Instagram – her life appears perfect (in that California vintage way), complete with a wedding, bearded husband, and sponsored Instagram posts to feed her thousands of followers.

So, Ingrid… you guessed it… goes west in order to start a new life and embody Taylor’s. You might have an idea how this ends – but don’t worry, I’m not going to offer any spoilers.

I will say that a clear B plot is here, offering us Ingrid’s landlord and pseudo boyfriend Dan Pinto (O’shea Jackson Jr.), and the banter between them is the sparkle in this otherwise dark flick. Yes, Ingrid goes there.

While those who’ve seen it agree it’s a little…well, psychotic… I have to say that it’s probably a little more real than we’d all like to admit.

Our culture has become obsessed with perfection and this displays itself all over social media, and it has ugly consequences. We’re all comparing ourselves to people we don’t know personally, and trying to be these people, all based on a set of pictures that most likely doesn’t represent their R E A L life.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this given a book I read last week (more on this in the coming weeks), so it’s heavy on my mind.

The other bright spot of “Ingrid Goes West”? I saw it at the Drafthouse and they had a split menu specifically for the movie. It had items for Taylor, which were refined and vegan, and options for Ingrid, which were indulgent and sloppy. Obviously I got the Cali fries from Ingrid’s side, and they were a delicious take on In-N-Out’s animal style fries. Fucking YUM.

Should you see this movie? Yep. Recommendations all around – especially if you are an Aubrey Plaza fan.

Also… there’s new items in my Etsy shop! I made several new items over the weekend, and I’m rolling them out a few at a time, but check them out!

Why I stopped following you online.

Social media, I cannot.

Social media, I cannot.

I’ve written a lot about social media and the effect it has on us, and it’s been on my mind a lot lately. I’ll preface this by saying that, in general, I am a fan of social media – a lot of the professional work I’ve done in the last decade revolves around the stuff, and I think it’s done wonders for entrepreneurs and creating jobs. In short, it’s changed the way we live.

But it’s also done a number on our brains, and it affects the way we conduct our relationships with friends, family, and romantic partners.

And no, this isn’t me saying that I’m jealous when my online friends post pictures of their every lavish vacation (from the packing to the plane to the washcloth animals!), or when there are birth announcements and wedding anniversary love notes.

In fact, those things make me pretty happy. There are full on albums of pictures from places I will probably never get to see, and life milestones being celebrated that I may never get to experience for myself. And I’m truly happy for my friends when their lives lend themselves to the lucky light of the world and good things happen.

But it’s the other side of it all that gets me down – if there was no Facebook, no Instagram, no Twitter, I’d probably never pay much attention to these luxe lifestyles; or these milestone celebrations, unless of course, we all actually met up for drinks and dusted off photo albums like we once did.

So, is social media making us feel inadequate? I’m not the only one with this on the brain – I read an article on the Zoe Report that was a firsthand account of what it was like to “quit” social media, and she brings up a great point about why social feeds (particularly Instagram) can bring us down:

What’s worse, before social media, you knew people who, for example, drove a car that was better than yours, but you also knew people who drove cars that were worse than yours. This gave you perspective. Now, everyone edits their lives so that it looks as though every single person you know is having better experiences than you are, in one way or another. You may understand, rationally, that this isn’t true, but you still respond emotionally to the deceptive information you’re receiving via your Instagram feed.

She said since she quit Instagram, she hasn’t gone back, and is much happier, and finds herself actually reaching out to her friends more.

In all honesty, I don’t spend much time on Instagram. This fact alone is probably why it took me six months to realize that the last guy I slept with actually went back and UNLIKED all of my photos that he had, at one point when we were talking, liked.

And while my self-worth does not weigh itself in “likes” on Instagram, it sure stung when I realized (at 4:30 am on a Sunday) that not only did he go back and unlike all my posts, he was also the first person to like any and every picture that any and every single girl from our same high school posted, which I can see in my feed.

It was then and there that I decided I can’t play this game anymore. The first thing I did was send Instagram a big, fat middle finger, because, I have this guy blocked, along with other losers from my past, and yet I can still see whenever he likes said pics from single girls. Pic of glow bracelets? LIKE. Pic of dog? LIKE. Pic of nephew? LIKE.

Please. Blocking someone on Instagram barely does me any favors, and so, I started unfollowing people. It may not be personal, but it’s time I take control of the FOMO here. And I’m not going to subject myself to memories of an asshole or imagining him with other women just to pretend to save-face, or for the chance to see that one filtered pic of your summer night on the lake. #SorryNotSorry

In the days since, I’ve cleaned out my Facebook, too. If you’re not contributing to the happiness of the world, you’re adding to the sadness, and trust me, I’ve got sadness up to my ears. Again, nothing personal, but we’ve got to reign this digital hot mess in.

And don’t think I’m just being random and petty trying to avoid exes; I’ve got half my family, most of my coworkers, and anyone from the past that has sent me sexual or abusive messages, left inappropriate comments on my page, attempted stalking, and played the whole “Oh I was cleaning out my friends list and accidentally deleted you”-game; nope, block, and goodbye.

I have always enjoyed Twitter more, and lately SnapChat, and I think it’s because (on Twitter) I can interact with people in my industry that I may never meet in-person, but we can still relate on similar issues. I also like SnapChat because, for the most part, it’s fun and unfiltered, and it’s less about complaining and more about laughing at life.

Yes, I realize I may sound like a crazed, cut-throat lunatic right now, but if we know there’s something sucking the life out of us, why are we so slow to cut it out?

Kelly Evans, news anchor for NBC, recently deactivated all of her social accounts after realizing she needed to spend less time on the artificial relationships online, and more time on the friends, family, and work relationships right in front of her.

In the article from, she says it worked, and she actually went back to reading a printed newspaper to get informed each morning (!). Here’s what else:

But what I have turned “off” — hopefully for good — is the need to keep up with the Instagram Joneses. Am I “missing out” on stuff now as a result? Sure! And I can’t wait to hear all about it when I catch up with everybody directly.

So, will I be deleting my accounts? Not quite yet. I have, however, deleted several apps, making the mindless scrolling less of an option. And I’ve unfollowed people that I don’t care to see updates for. If we really need to catch up, email me, call me, and let’s meet – in the unfiltered, real-time, no phones kinda way.

Call me crazy, call me old school, call me out of touch – hell, call me maybe – but I’m ready to get a little more real in a way that makes me smile #NoFilter.

The Olympics have taken over my life.

Let the games begin!

Let the games begin!

I’m writing this as I watch gymnastics, and even though it hasn’t been on very long, there’s already drama with the harsh scoring.

Let me back this up. Okay, so Friday night was the opening ceremony, and I have watched them before, but for some reason I always forget how long they are. As in, they are more than four hours long. I’m going to be honest here, I was struggling and almost fell asleep before the torch was lit.

I will say that, it’s always very interesting to me how the host country chooses to celebrate the opening ceremony; what music they will play, what dances they will perform, and I’ll admittedly say that each time I watch, it reminds me how little I know about other cultures.

I always enjoy watching the Parade of Nations, as you get to see all of the different athletes, and often hear their stories of triumph. And really enjoyed hearing Hoda freak out when the shirtless guy from Tonga came out carrying the flag, and he was sufficiently oiled.

Even though the games have only been on for a few days, this is definitely the most I’ve watched. Also, I don’t even understand the coverage. The descriptions on the TV guide are vague, so I never know if it’s something I need to record or not. So, I ended up recording, like, nine hours swimming and a lot of it was repeated.

I just really, really don’t want to miss Ryan Lochte. Here are some of my other initial thoughts on the Olympics thus far:

  • I loved the Polo blazers team USA was wearing for the parade of nations
  • Hearing all the stories of the athletes who’ve overcome adversity made me really emotional
  • Ryan Lochte’s SnapChat is a saving grace
  • I kind of think they’ve overdone the coverage of the “Olympic Moms”. Yeah, we already know, women are awesome!
  • Why does Michael Phelps talk that way? I feel like his mouth is different than everyone else’s.
  • Synchronized diving is seriously insane. They are perfectly together, down to the pauses and jumps… it amazes me.

At the time of writing, the US has 8 medals, including one gold medal in shooting (by a female, I might add).

Aside from spending a lot of my time watching others live their dreams this weekend (seriously, what’s more satisfying than watching the most fit athletes in the world reach their goals, while I sit on the couch shoveling brownie-pretzel snaps into my face?), I did most of the usual: read, hit the library, did some freelance, worked on the blog, and slept a ton.

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately, and I’ll unpack some of those thoughts as the week continues, right here on the blog.

In all honesty, I couldn’t sleep Saturday night, so I took to scrolling Instagram. Big mistake. I could easily see that the last guy I had a crush on was in the habit of “liking” pretty much every post on my feed – as in, people I’m friends with (mostly single women). Ugh.

Despite us not talking, and not even being friends on social media, I just am not in a place where I need to see that. And even when you have someone blocked, it still shows you all the shit they like and comment on. Thanks, Insta.

But what I noticed more than his desperate tries for attention, was the fact that he’d gone back and unliked every single one of my pictures from when we were friends.

Really? Honest question: is this something people do now and I’m just now realizing it? Because I would never do that.

I get it, he hates me. But, that doesn’t change the fact that at one moment in time (a mere several years), he didn’t hate me, and we had some fun. What’s the purpose of going back and unliking all the pictures? If he was trying to do it to hurt my feelings, it worked.

I spent more time than I should have thinking about it yesterday, and I’ve got some solutions to disappointments such as these that I’ll discuss mid-week.

Until then, I’ll be burning calories and stress at dance class, and working to survive another packed week at work. And yeah, I’ll be watching the Olympics… and probably Snapping about it.

Life: Is this where you thought you’d be?

Time flies...

Time flies…

I mentioned on Monday (in my review of “What Alice Forgot“) that I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. I was thinking about it before I read the book, although I’m not entirely sure what brought it on – it very well may be the fact that my 31st birthday less than one month away, or it could be that I just have this feeling that time is going by so, so fast.

And I don’t say that in the whole… conversational way of saying, “omigosh I’m just soooo busy, time flies!” It’s more as if, the days just go by soooo fast. One day it’s Monday, and before I can even realize it, it’s Friday. And then, Monday again, and the next thing I know, it’s 9 months later, and my lease is up, and my one-year review at my job is coming, and here I’ve lived in an entirely new place for legit almost a YEAR, and I still get excited when I don’t have to ask Siri for navigational assistance.

Like, what the hell is that about?

I know part of this whole time thing is Facebook, and I’m also fully aware that I blame Facebook for most of the world’s social problems, including but not limited to, cyber bullying, interpersonal communication skills, dating and relationships, and self-esteem. I sort of hate Mark Zuckerberg, and I kind of like hating him.

But anyway, I think Facebook is what’s brought to my attention just how fast time is passing by, and it’s made it hard and clear, that I’m getting older by the hour.

Many of you, my readers, have connected with me on Facebook, and I’m very thankful for that. But because of our online connection, I’ve literally been able to watch your lives from afar. I’ve seen you graduate from college, get engaged, married, have children, perhaps gone through divorce or relationship turmoil, and now, your children are not babies anymore, they’re actual humans who look like you and speak the same language we speak.

And me? I’m still sitting behind a laptop (the same exact one I was nine years ago), writing about the same things (my hatred of all men aside from John Mayer), and posting pictures of my cat anywhere I can. And I just have to wonder, is this where we’d all be if we’d asked ourselves ten years ago?

You know when you go on an interview, they’re likely to ask you where you see yourself in five to ten years. I’d venture to guess that 90% of the answers to that question are complete bullshit, because most people don’t have a fucking clue. Sure, we’ve all got hopes and dreams – where we’d like to see ourselves in five or ten years.

Ten years ago, I was going into my senior year at LSU. I had to take summer classes in order to graduate in a decent amount of time. So, I took classes from 7-12 each day, I had a two hour break to eat lunch, study, and crank out any writing (I was a news stringer for the university paper). Then, at 2 pm, I had a shift at the mall,  at Abercrombie. My shift was 2-10, Monday through Friday, and that’s what I did every day. On the weekends, I studied.

If you would have told me that in ten years, I would have changed careers, working an entry-level job with a bunch of 23-year-olds way smarter than me, I would have dropped dead. I would have never believed that I’d moved to Austin, a place that ten years ago, I’d been to twice: once for SXSW, and once to meet up with a guy I had a crush on.

I also would be saddened to hear that ten years later, I’m still not at that point where I feel like I’ve got it together. While I am lucky enough to have a salary and benefits,  I’m not financially organized. My apartment is rarely clean, and I spend every other Friday night at the laundromat. I’m single, and have grown quite fond of doing most things alone. I’m not well-traveled; instead, I teach night classes at the University of Texas.

Honestly, what on earth led to this life? It’s not a bad one, I’m not saying that; it’s just not the one I thought of, or planned for – I kind of feel like things just fell this way. And I wonder that about all of you – the ones I’ve seen over the years. Is this the life you created? The one you’ve dreamt of? Planned for?

My current job is tough – the toughest job I’ve had yet, and I think it’s also a big reason I’ve been thinking about time. I do more work in a week now than I think I did in a month at my previous job. It’s more high-pressure, very fast-paced, and I think it’s part of the reason why the weeks fly by as fast as they do.

The nature of my life right now makes me think a lot about who I am. Am I cut out for this environment? Was I meant for this job? Am I meant to be involved in something more creative? Given that most things in my life haven’t changed over the last decade: my relationship status, my checkbook,  passport, available free time, etc., I kind of wonder if I’m living in the past.

Should I have given up this blog when it proved to not be a smashing success? Should I have stopped writing books when none of them sold? Should I stop pitching publications when I’ve yet to get a piece accepted? Should I stop taking dance classes when even the beginning ones leave me breathless and sore?

I mean, of course not. I am still very much navigating this life. It’s certainly not where I thought I would be – but I mean that in both good ways and bad. I know I was led to Austin for a reason; even if I’ve yet to discover it. And I know there’s a reason I’m still hunkered behind this ancient laptop (my last visit to the Genius Bar claimed it’s “vintage”), clacking away on a blog that, to a data analyst, would be worth nothing.

Tonight, I’m teaching my last blog class of the summer semester at UT. It was my first semester teaching in Austin, and I was refreshed to find my students were very eager to tackle the blogosphere. Last week, one of my students raised her hand and asked me the truth about being successful in blogging.

“It takes someone really extraordinary to make it,” she said.

I suppose, in several cases, that could be said about most hobbies and professions. But just like there are hundreds of thousands of food bloggers and mommy bloggers – there’s hundreds and thousands of doctors and authors.

The difference, I told her, is you. No one has the same outlook on this world as you. You have something that no one else has. As cliche as it sounds; that’s what it is. It meaning drive, passion, opinions, style, ability; whatever makes you the cream of the crop – that’s what determines your next ten years; your next twenty.

So, what is it? I’d love to hear from you about where you were ten years ago, where you hope to be in the next ten; twenty, and perhaps what you’re doing to get there. Let’s do it, and by it, I mean… something extraordinary.

PS. UT has already asked me to return for the fall semester. Cheers to the future!

Social media: causing codependency.

Technology... we need to draw some lines in dating.

Technology… we need to draw some lines in dating.

I woke up, pissed as all hell. It was a Saturday morning, I’d slept in, and for some reason I was in a fit of rage.

I was mad at the guy I’d been talking to, mainly because we weren’t really talking to each other anymore.

Six months prior to this ugly Saturday morning, I would have woken up to a sweet text message from him, or a video on SnapChat.

But after finally sleeping with him, he’d gone dark without much of an explanation.

The thing is, this has happened to me so many times, I’ve nearly come to expect it. I get it, no one wants to have a “break up” talk with someone they’re not really dating.

However, if the guy had no interest in me, then why was he still looking at all my SnapChats and mentioning things he’d seen on my Instagram? It made my stomach churn. It felt creepy.

I recently started following Life Coach Brenden Dilley on Twitter after hearing him on a radio interview. He said one of the first things you should do when parting ways in a relationship is, what I like to call, the Digital Delete.

Get rid of pictures of your ex on your phone, old text messages, and delete the person from all social media channels.

According to Dilley, we’re living in a society that’s codependent, so removing our exes or past flings in every capacity, makes it real that it’s over.

If we weren’t talking in our actual, non-digital lives, then I sure as hell wasn’t going to let this guy check up on me online. And I didn’t need to be checking out him, either. It was over.

So, I deleted our connections on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat. And of course, I changed his name in my phone to “Fuck Boy”.

He tried to add me back on SnapChat, to which I responded by blocking him and telling him to stop contacting me via social media.

A few weeks later, this guy told me I was immature for doing this (he actually asked me if I was 12 years old).

If I was indeed 12, that makes him a sexual predator, and actually, social media wasn’t around when we were 12. But I suppose that wasn’t his point.

Perhaps I am immature, but in any case, I did it because I wanted him out of my life in every way possible.

And I would venture to admit that I was wishing for a bit of control in a situation that left me clueless, and hurt.

So, do we live in a codependent society? It sounds so terrible, but maybe we are. I do think that social media has made us more lonely than we were before it arrived, and it does have the power to affect our relationships.

I was reading an interview with author Kim Stoll in Time magazine, and she said social media has given us all gateways to contact people from our past that may not be good for us.

Interestingly enough, that’s how I reconnected with this last guy. We went to high school together and started talking via SnapChat (God, that sounds so cheap when I write it).

I’d bet that if social media didn’t exist, we wouldn’t have reconnected. Just saying.

But since deleting him from social media, I do feel rather free. Pay no mind to the fact that all of my social media feeds are public, and I have a revealing blog.

It’s less about visibility and more about the cold, hard fact that we are no longer connected, emotionally, or digitally.

The sadness of the ‘Scope.

I just joined Periscope - let's party!

I just joined Periscope – let’s party!

Early last week, I randomly decided to join Periscope – the live video social media platform. I didn’t have much of a reason for joining other than I wanted to see what it was all about.

I’ve heard of people (mostly celebrities or well-known personalities) using the ‘scope for an interview-like setting. Why? Well, because there is a chat feature on the live video feed. So, you can not only see a live video of someone that’s across the globe, but you can also chat with them.

So, I signed up using my Twitter handle (@OrangeJulius7) – by the way, Periscope is owned by Twitter. I browsed for a bit: you can literally look at a map of the world and click on live videos that are happening. Sometimes, it’s a single person sitting there talking, and other times it’s a stream of a huge event, such as the Trump rally (which I watched for about 30 seconds).

You can ask the person questions, or chat with other users watching. You can also tap the screen if you like what you see and a little colored heart will appear on the screen, which is also visible to the videographer.

What’s cool about Periscope? It’s live and there are no filters, and there aren’t ads (yet). This is as authentic as it gets when we’re talking social media. I definitely foresee this as the future of the podcast – or perhaps I’m just thinking of The Bitter Lemon! I would love to hold a 20-minute chat about something and have the opportunity to answer live questions and chat with my readers. I’m in if you’re in!

But, there’s always a sad side when it comes to social media, right? When you really get down to it, we all just want to be liked. We post the pretty stuff on Instagram, funny crap on SnapChat, air our dirty laundry on Facebook, and talk shit on Twitter. We just want to fit in and be social, all while not moving and staring into the tiny screen before us, right?

In that aspect, Periscope is no different. Late last Thursday night, I was laying on my couch (three glasses of wine in my stomach) and I decided to log onto Periscope. I fumbled upon a live feed of a gentleman who’d just gotten home from going out. It was his birthday and he clearly was drunk – expectedly so.

He was singing himself “Happy Birthday” and was attempting to hold his phone with one hand and open a plastic container with the other. The container was from a grocery store bakery, and it had two slices of cheesecake in it. Once he got the container open, he proceeded to eat the cheesecake with his hand. No silverware.

“Y’all, it’s my birthday and I’m by myself!” he was nearly laughing at the situation.

“Take a shot!” I chatted to him. He gazed at the near-empty bottle of Patron Silver beside him, and without hesitation, poured himself a shot, which he downed shortly after.

It was a short, sad snippet of how social media is feeding us and starving us all at once. And in one full swoop, it makes me wonder what depths we’ll travel – what will we find ourselves watching next, just to get a thread of connection?

I don’t say this to sound pompous – I’m on all the social networks, and frankly, there’s something appealing about Periscope. Maybe it is the rawness of it. I’m going to stick around on it and just see what the whole thing is about, and don’t be surprised if I host some rants chats on there soon.



Speaking of rants chats, I’ve been thinking a lot about backhanded apologies lately.

Truthfully, someone sent me one via text a few weeks ago, and it’s just been laying eggs under my skin, pissing me off ever since.

Why do people DO that shit? I’ve honestly never understood why some people find it so difficult to offer a sincere apology for something they did.

Is it really that big of a deal, or do they just believe that nothing they did warrants a real apology?

So, let’s look at some backhanded apologies, just for fun:

  • I’m sorry you feel that way.
  • I’m sorry if my actions affected you.
  • I’m sorry you weren’t listening to hear what I said.
  • I’m sorry I look good.
  • I’m sorry you don’t know how to drive.

It’s a simple way of turning the blame from the guilty person onto the innocent, and it’s worded in a way that can sometimes sound sincere, until you really think about it.

Here’s the fact of the matter: if there is a situation, a relationship, a friendship, a future, that is hinging on an apology, it better damn well be a sincere one.

Just say, “I’m sorry.” I’m sorry I hurt you, I’m sorry things happened this way, I’m sorry for treating you like shit.

It’s like dealing with an addition: the first step is admitting the problem. I’m not saying apologize for everything or anything; that gets old and annoying. But, just apologize, sincerely.

And I’ll leave you with that, my friends! It’s been another fantastic week over here; I’ve got a weekend PACKED full of fun stuff and I’ll be right back here on Monday to share it with you! Until then, catch me online @OrangeJulius7

Mission: Get John Mayer to Open my Snaps.

John Mayer doesn't know what he's missing.

John Mayer doesn’t know what he’s missing.

About two weeks ago, John Mayer announced he was joining SnapChat. The interwebs completely ATE this up, because: 1. SnapChat is for teens, right? And John Mayer is 38. And 2., What happened to all of that jazz about not making a complete fool of yourself online, Mr. Mayer?

Well, hell’s bells. I’m 30 and on SnapChat, and when I heard the news I about died.

“This is it!” I thought to myself. “Maybe THIS is how we’re going to meet!”

Sure, I have no shame in admitting that I’ve attempting to contact him via Twitter and Instagram (by way of tagging his handle, I’m not creepy enough to send him a DM).

But I am also creepy enough to attempt to send him two Valentines over the years via snail mail. Now, these cards never got sent back to me, but yes, I’m aware of the fact that John Mayer never saw them.

More than likely, they are sitting in dusty boxes in some New York warehouse, and/or some creepazoid steamed open the envelopes and flattened them in a frame from Goodwill.

Now, back to the matter at hand. Personally, I think SnapChat is the perfect place for John Mayer, because he can say his “sexual napalm” realness, and then it disappears in 24 hours.

Leave it to my imagination to try and figure out how I can use this particular social media channel to PERHAPS meet my life’s obsession. But how am I supposed to make this happen?

My friend suggested the spaghetti tactic – you know, throw everything on the wall and see what sticks. Ah, hell, why not?

So, I took a picture of the nearest thing: the Taco Bell drive-thru line, slapped a kissy-face emoji on the sucker, and sent it to John Mayer.

Then just sit back and watch the magic happen, right?

Sure, that’s what I thought, too, until I saw the little arrow next to his name was gray and it said, “Pending”.

Um, what? Here we are, nearly 10 days later, and that sonofabitch is STILL pending.

“Don’t worry,” my friend said. “He’s going to accept it because you’re his #1 fan!”

While I appreciate her perseverance, that’s exactly the reason he’s NOT going to accept it. Because I am an obsessive freak.

But, this is my blog and I’m all about transparency, so let’s obsess more and figure out how to crack this code.

According to SnapChat, the “pending” message is confirming the fact that John Mayer hasn’t added me as a friend on SnapChat. Well, no shit.

SnapChat suggests calling your “friend” and asking them to accept your friend request, so you can easily send snaps to each other.

Um, hello?! It’s 2016, I’m not going to CALL anyone. And D., if I had John Mayer’s phone number then I wouldn’t be trying to stalk his ass on SnapChat! Duh. *Rolls eyes*

So, anywho, in the meantime, I’m just going to go apeshit and snap him some ‘mo. Because I really don’t have anything else to do with my life.

If you’ve got other suggestions on how to get his attention, please let me know. I’m not above flying my personal plane over Montana and writing some messages in the clouds.

Want to follow me on SnapChat and see me make a fool of myself for John Mayer? I’d love to have you: OrangeJulius7

Land a job from LinkedIn.

Yes, you can get a job on LinkedIn!

Yes, you can get a job on LinkedIn!

It’s a new year, a new you… could a new job be in store? Or, perhaps you’re considering an entire career change. If you’re new to The Bitter Lemon (Welcome!), let me fill you in: I unexpectedly lost my job at the end of 2014, spent most of 2015 hunting down my dream job, before finding it, moving 7 hours west, and am now living the LIFE.

First day on the job. Password: FINALLY

First day on the job. Password: FINALLY

And yes, they keep beer in the fridge for employees at my job (no, I’m dead serious) and there’s unlimited vacation.

Someone pinch me.

How did this happen to me? I got my job from LinkedIn. Again, I’m dead serious.

The better question here is, how can YOU do this?

Because here, at TBL, I’m all about spreading joy and happiness, and most importantly, figuring out ways to make every situation yours for the taking.

So, I’ve got 6 tips for improving your LinkedIn profile and landing that job you’ve been fantasizing about:

Let people know you’re looking

  • Whether you post on LinkedIn that you’re currently exploring career opportunities or you cleverly update your resume to reflect your job status, put it out there that you’re serious about a job search. Many hiring officers won’t take you seriously if you aren’t either – they think it’s a waste of time.

Actually fill out your profile

  • One of the BEST things about using LinkedIn to find a job is that many companies will let you apply for the job using your profile, which takes about two clicks. Trust me, it’s waaayyy better than having to upload and parse your resume, and then rewrite the whole thing again via answering a million questions. So, put everything on your profile you’d want a potential employer to know.
  • Recently, LinkedIn added a ton of new sections you can fill out and add to your profile. I’m not saying you’ve got to go nuts on these, but if you’ve got things to add, do it – if they’re going to make you look better, anyway.
  • When you fill out your profile, don’t be shy. You don’t have to worry about fitting all the information on one page, so go ape shit. Fill out all of the things you’ve accomplished in your previous jobs, highlight special courses or trainings you’ve attended, and don’t forget about areas you’ve excelled in. Sure, it’ll take time, but you only have to do it once.

Use a professional (looking) profile picture

  • I know not everyone has a professional headshot, but at least try to use a decent-looking photo. Do not use a selfie or any photo that features you, intoxicated, or looking sloppy. Come on! If you don’t have a photo, rig your iPhone to a steady area, sit in front of a plain wall with some natural lighting, set the timer, and smile like you mean it!
  • No matter what, don’t leave the photo empty. That just looks sad.


  • I’m not a big fan of networking, but networking on LinkedIn is pretty easy since you can do it while laying on your couch wearing sweats. So, find people you know, and connect with them – I’ve heard hiring officers only look at profiles with at least 100 connections. Find me (Holly A. Phillips) and let’s link up; 99 more to go!
  • Follow thought leaders in your field, or in the field you’re hoping to get into. Also, look for groups that talk about your passions, and join them.

Search for the right job

  • One thing is certain: LinkedIn is a GIANT search engine. But, in order for that to work in your favor, you’ve got to use the right words to find the jobs you’re looking for. This may take some brain storming. Think about the job you want, or the career field you’re interested in. Make a list of words and/or phrases that could describe it, and use these to narrow (or widen) your search.
  • For example, I knew I wanted a job that had something to do with Web/Internet and also writing and/or editing. I searched for all of those things, but also, web marketing, search engine marketing, social media strategy, online marketing, etc. I was able to find hundreds of jobs to apply to!

Don’t forget (or abandon) traditional job hunting skills

  • Yes, I work in the tech industry and I applied through LinkedIn, but societal norms still apply when it comes to job hunting. You still need to craft a well-written email/message/cover letter, and reply within a timely manner if you get a message or a call. The interview is still just like any other interview, and after every interview I had, even phone interviews, I mailed hand-written thank you cards.

So, there you have it! Got any other tips that have worked for you? Feel free to share them in the comments. Best of luck in your job search, and I hope to see you on LinkedIn!

Red flags got me like…

Wait, let me take a selfie.

Wait, let me take a selfie.

A few weeks ago, my favorite radio show, “Johnjay and Rich,” got to talking about red flags in dating. Now, red flags are nothing new, but a lot of the red flags they were talking about were silly — like, don’t date a guy if he wears cargo pants.

If wearing cargo pants is the worst thing my non-existent boyfriend does, then I’ve got it made. But, it got me thinking about red flags. Everyone has a different idea of what’s okay and not okay when it comes to dating, but what are the standards? What’s got some dataaaaa behind it (I’m an analyst for a living)?

Turns out Elite Daily is serving up the stats on men who take selfies. Yup, they’re psychopaths. No, I’m serious.

Of course, the article is a little dramatic, acting like the “guy” takes selfies at every corner. I’m sure there are SOME guys like that, but I’ve had hot guys send me selfies and I don’t think it was psycho… I thought it was cute. Maybe I’M the psycho?

But, when you think about it, taking selfies IS kind of a girl thing, right? And, speaking of selfies, what ever happened to this musical gem?

Now, we can’t put all the blame on the men, so I found an article on women. Huffington Post published an article on types of single women to avoid… oh here we go. Check out #1 —

1. Debbie P. Drunkerson. The P stands for party. Feels most comfortable in bars and loves staying out late with friends. Note: People who don’t party are “boring.”

Hrmm…. I stay sober… from time to time.

The list continues with your standard stereotypes, and in all honesty, I don’t think ANY of them describe me. Wheww…

So, what are some of your red flags? I know mine have changed over the years. Off the top of my head, here are a few of my red flags.

  • Can’t hold a steady job
  • Doesn’t have goals
  • Lacks work ethic
  • Is dishonest/hypocritical
  • Doesn’t have any childhood or longterm friends
  • Says one thing, does another
  • Is accusatory

So let’s hear it — I want to know your red flags and, if you’re willing, how you came up with them!

Crushing on SnapChat.

I would never send ANY of these.

I would never send ANY of these.

Every time a new piece of technology, or a new social app, is introduced into our world, I try to find a way to wiggle it into my routine.

Unless it’s not worth it, of course.

I downloaded SnapChat (@OrangeJulius7) around six months ago, at the suggestion of a younger friend.

“All the cool kids are doing it,” was his pitch, and I went with it.

At first, I didn’t know what to snap, but the more friends I’ve added to the app, the more fun I have snapping pictures of my cat, my food, or myself dancing in the car.

Honestly, I thought SnapChat was just for dick pics, but I’m six months in and I’ve yet to see such a pic.

I will say, though, I’ve got one follower that sends me ab pics daily. I have no idea who he is, but he looks fantastic, and I cannot help but look at his six pack.

A few months back, I met a super cute guy and we started following each other on SnapChat.

He kept looking at my snaps, but wouldn’t message me directly.

So, one Saturday night, I did the classiest thing I could think of: I got drunk (read: completely wasted), and sent him a direct snap.

To my surprise and delight, he snapped back… and he looked so cute.

The snaps continued, but the next morning, I had no clue what exactly I’d snapped — that’s the catch 22 of SnapChat. The snaps you send erase after the person opens them.

I snapped him that morning, and felt out the vibe. It was fine.

But what have we here? Is it a snap-only flirt?

I consulted one of my gay friends, because who else am I supposed to get dating advice from?

He said a SnapChat flirt is really only legitimate if we’re using the chat feature, because then, it’s like the guy really made the effort to talk to me.

Ugh! Leave it to another app to muddy the already murky dating waters and leave a girl in question.

For fear of looking like a nut job, I stopped sending him snaps and am just trying to keep it cool in the meantime.

But he’s just so darn cute!

Nonetheless, it all got me thinking — surely people are hooking up from SnapChat.

According to an article on, SnapChat is the one social network where the gloves are officially off and people can be unfiltered (even though there are filters).

I will admit, I’ve posted things on SnapChat that I would never post on Facebook or Instagram.

Because of this fact, SnapChat is not only popular among teens and young adults, but it’s also popular among young professionals.

However, apparently SnapChat is the new Fight Club, because it’s that thing we’re never supposed to talk about.

Which brings me full-circle to my SnapChat crush. If the article has any truth to it, it’s pretty impossible to bring my Snap crush into a real-life, full-blown crush.

In a way, it’s kind of sad, but on the other hand, what’s so wrong with that?

It’s innocent, fun, flirty, and at the very least, I don’t have to worry about birth control or hell, shaving my legs.

Sounds like a win in my book!

But before we all go out and take our tops off on SnapChat, don’t forget that damn screenshot feature.

Keep a slight filter, even in the glamorous world of the disappearing photo.

Until next time, I’ll see you on SnapChat, but don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.

Blind dates: a thing or not?

Nice blindfold.

Nice blindfold.

Between cell phones, Google, and social media, I’m left to wonder: do people still go on blind dates? Even if you don’t know much about the person, aside from their name, there’s always that temptation to search them online, and casually stalk their posts or pictures, and analyze bits of information that probably create an untrue picture… right?

But before we dive too deep into things, remember the TV show, “Blind Date” with Rodger Lodge (who could forget it, really)? It aired for seven years in the early 00’s, and was based around a pair of strangers that, you guessed it, went on a blind date. It was always painfully obvious the couple was completely WRONG, but that was the beauty of the show!

Anyway, back to blind dates. I’ve been on one blind date, like a traditional blind date, where all I knew was his first name before we met up. The person who set us up purposefully didn’t tell each of us much about each other, and it was a pretty refreshing change of pace. It was nice to go into a date without any preconceived ideas — whether they be good or bad.

While I don’t think the traditional blind date is completely dead, it’s more likely that people are going on similar dates with people they met online. Sure, you’ve seen some pictures of the person (but was it really them in the picture), and maybe you’ve messaged a few times, but you still don’t really know them, or how things are going to go.

I’ve been on 4-5 dates with people I’ve met from Match or Ok Cupid… and the thing I dislike the most about these dates is the initial meeting. I get really terrible anxiety over arriving at the meeting spot, and then wondering which person is coming to meet me. Even though I may have seen a few pictures of the person online, you can never really spot someone out of a crowd from just a few pictures — that may or may not be accurate.

Other than that, I think blind dates — whether traditional or updated — are good. No matter what technology we’re presented with, I don’t think people will ever stop setting people up, or seeking their perfect match. But I’d love to hear from you: have you been on a traditional blind date? What was it like? How did you get setup?

Pic of the Week.

Tweets on Tweets.

Tweets on Tweets.

Last Wednesday, I was really excited to get to attend a social media seminar — “Making the Hashtag Your BFF” — hosted by a local creative firm, Dezins Interactive.

I’ve seen DI advertise for these seminars before, but I’ve never been able to make it, due to my hectic retail schedule. Well, I guess no one shops during the summer, because they cut hours big time. So, not only am I writing more and helping clients, but I’m also just doing things I’ve been wanting to do for the past six months, but have had to put off.

Since I left corporate world, I’ve had this giant fear that all of the sudden, I’ll lose all of the knowledge I gained over my seven years of work. I’m not really sure where this fear came from; I think it’s because I spend a lot of hours working from my dining table (or from my bed) and most of the conversations I have are with Blanche, and they’ve got nothing to do with style rules, social media, or Google Analytics.

So, I’ve made it a priority of mine to keep up with the outside world. I watch the news every morning (HLN with Robin Meade at 6am, and TODAY at 7am), keep up with any tech news via Twitter, am teaching myself the ins and outs of SnapChat (@OrangeJulius7), attend networking events, and go to seminars where I can meet people and learn a few things.

I went to a networking event about a month ago, and I came equipped with a fresh stack of business cards. I met lots of people and it seemed to be a successful event — I walked away having several potential clients.

But one in particular threw me for a loop when she started spouting off statistics regarding social media visibility. I hadn’t heard any of these numbers she was mentioning; and a lot of her social media “rules” were ones I didn’t think were correct. Was I losing my knowledge?

So, I was excited when I had a morning off at the same time DI was hosting a seminar on hashtags. Now, I’m pretty familiar with the hashtag, as I use it all the time for personal use — Instagram, Twitter, blogs, etc. — and I’ve helped businesses and brands build campaigns around it. But it’s always good to have a refresher course.

I did learn a few things about hashtag etiquette and how I can promote my personal hashtags (#TheBitterLemon, #CatLady) more online. I want to use these hashtags to spark an open dialogue with my readers, so if you’ve got a question, comment, or something to share, use one of the hashtags!

It was also cool to see so many individuals from different businesses and companies around Baton Rouge embracing social media and learning the tricks of the trade in order to promote their brands to the world.

Pic of the Week.

My former cat, the late, the great, Orange Julius.

My former cat, the late, the great, Orange Julius.

Yesterday, I did something I’ve needed to do for years… but I didn’t want to. I changed my Twitter profile picture from that of my late feline Orange Julius, to a semi-professional photo of myself.

Le sigh.

You see, I got my Twitter handle — @OrangeJulius7 — in 2008, when Twitter was just a baby. I wanted to celebrate my awesome roommate, my cat OJ, by immortalizing him via handle. But all good things must come to an end, and I was forced to say goodbye to my beloved fur baby about three years ago.

Alas, I still keep his memory alive in all of my social media handles: Twitter, Instagram, and SnapChat. In reality, I created the handle before I had a care in the world about branding.

I know that having a cat picture instead of my own isn’t professional. I know it’s not very serious. But I just loved that picture of him, and perhaps it made my handle a little easier to understand. But I’ve been applying for jobs like a madwoman lately, and I know people are looking at my online presence.

Sure, there are a lot of things out there about me that I can’t do much about. But the things I can change, I figure I probably should, if I ever expect to be taken seriously as a writer, an editor, and a digital media expert.

So, Julius had to take a backseat. For now, at least.

I feel a little bit like a sellout, but at the same time, I know that I’m professional, I’m qualified, and I deserve to find a job that appreciates that about me. So, perhaps it will help — maybe it won’t, but I suppose it can’t hurt, right?

According to an article on, “When it comes to Twitter profile photos (as well as your photo for the other social media channels), you should use a photo that is professional, front-facing, and appropriate. That photo will be creating the first impression, which is very important for you. Also, you should be the only person in the photo and it should definitely be your face. People will only form a relationship with you if you have a photo that pleases them. If your photo is anything else (or says anything else to them), it won’t work. It is important to keep that in mind. People will react positively to your photo and to the rest of the profile details that you have shared with them.”


Well, here’s to hoping that the simple step of changing my Twitter profile picture will help a potential employer take me seriously. And although OJ’s face might not be on my Twitter anymore, he will forever live in my heart.